Sunday, January 21, 2018
Collingham 1-0 Dinnington Town
The A62 is clogged up with traffic. I quickly check the live scores on my mobile. Notts County have grabbed a point at Sincil Bank. Lincoln have only taken two points off the promotion front-runners in League Two, out of a possible twelve. It's not good enough.
We spend a lovely evening up at my brother's gaff in York. He rustles up a fish pie as we catch up with one another, as Christmas was blighted with illness. The cobwebs are blown away the following morning with a brisk walk around the villages of Upper Poppleton and Nether Poppleton, before returning home to Notts.
I've got the hump on Monday evening. I have to be out of bed at the crack of dawn on Tuesday morning for a sales conference in Glasgow. The flight's delayed for over an hour. Scotland is covered in a blanket of snow. Thankfully Glasgow city centre and the airport are clear of the dreaded white powder.
The iconic Grand Central Hotel is a cracker and is situated inside Glasgow Railway Station. My mate Lee and I manage to slip out after evening dinner. We stumble across the Cosmopol Karaoke Bar on Hope Street. I get on the Guinness and have a flick through the songs you can sing on stage. I had hoped to belt out 'Donald Where's Your Troosers' or 'Party Fears Two' by Dundee synth-pop band The Associates. It's gone midnight and most of the Scots are spangled in the bar. We leave an 'Amy Winehouse' on stage and nip back to the hotel for a nightcap before turning in for bed.
It's Friday evening. I jump on a bus out of Carlton after a frustrating day 'at the office.' I alight the bus in Hockley and wander up Goosegate. I'm about to place my first football bet of the season after 48 hours of live research. Huddersfield are the worst team I've seen in the Premier League since King Billy's D***y County back in 2008. Burnley have packed up their buckets and spades for the summer holidays (Man Utd will beat them) and Blackburn will cake-walk League Two. I have a £5 treble at Ladbrokes, before wandering into the Market Square, up Friar Lane and across Maid Marian Way.
I climb the hill up towards the Crafty Crow, a wood-furnished tap house that serves real ales from the Magpie Brewery. I choose one from the specials board called Jack Spaniels, a Gundog ale, who are based in Daventry. Ms Moon soon joins me. After supping a few drinks, whilst lounging about on a Chesterfield sofa, we up sticks and have one for the road in the Bell Inn. An impatient old Irishman in a tweed flat cap and old Mackintosh trench coat is about to lose his cool at the bar. He asks me if I'm from Nottingham, I reply in the affirmative. "It's a shithole" he shouts out, before disappearing into the night (bit harsh, has he ever been to Waterford?).
I'm shouting out at my TV on Saturday. It's taken me months to work out (actually 'Taggart' told me) that I can shout the name of a band and You Tube will play any song. I scroll through my twitter timeline whilst listening to tracks from Closer by Joy Division.
I'm all excited about going to Wellingborough, it'll give me the chance to write about post-punk band Bauhaus. I used to worship Pete Murphy and Bauhaus. I saw them at Futurama at Stafford Bingley Hall in 1981 and twice more at Nottingham's Rock City. They had the novel idea of hiring an old double-decker London bus to play a gig whilst travelling up and down the streets of Northampton city centre.
Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke (yawn) was also born in the town. What were Mum and Dad thinking, spelling Thom like that? Can you imagine the poor sod ringing up for a doctor's appointment, "it's Thom, with an 'H', ok ya." Thom had a tough start in life. He was born with a paralysed left eye and had six operations before the age of 6 years old. The final operation was botched, leaving Yorke with a drooping eyelid. This may account for some of his morose song-writing and haunting voice.
There's a great scene from Father Ted in which Ted and Dougal have been looking after a suicidal priest called Father Kevin, who at every opportunity tries to kill himself; even after losing at snakes 'n ladders (which takes some doing when playing Dougal). After six months he's as happy as Larry and deemed fit to return to the priesthood. He catches a bus on Craggy Island back to the mainland, full of the joys of spring. The bus driver shouts out to the priest "Father, do you mind if I turn the radio on?" The DJ plays Radiohead's new single. The priest sinks further into depression.
Wellingborough Whitworth have 99% confirmed that their United Counties League game versus St Andrews from Leicester will take place. That 1% nags away at me as Ian Curtis builds to a crescendo. It's with good reason too; Whitworth confirm that the game has been hosed off.
Chuffing hell, what are we going to do now? I can see Ms Moon has got her eye on the cinema followed by some tapas. I need to knock that nail on the head. Blimey Charlie, Collingham FC, just outside Newark, are saying the game is confirmed as ON - heavens to betsy. I have a flick through the Good Pub Guide and clock the Fountain Hotel in Tuxford as a pub that still needs ticking off. I tell Ms Moon that Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and 'Terry Tapas' will have to wait.
I've got the bottom lip on by the time we reach the roundabout at Lowdham. I'm 2-0 down in 'name that tune' on Absolute 80s. I pull it back to 3-3 on the A1, but Michael Jackson and Dire Straits see me relinquish my crown.
The Fountain Hotel ain't much to write home about. It looks run down and deserted. I poke my head into the Lounge to be greeted by a young barmaid. We're told that food is served in the Bar only. The same girl appears in the Bar. I say to her that I've just seen her sister in the Lounge - "I haven't got a sister" she replies. The food on the menu looks appalling and they've no decent beers on. I have a quick half of Goose Island and Ms Moon a frothy machine-made latte.
Collingham is located on the banks of the River Trent in Nottinghamshire with a population of just under 3,000. I remember my local cricket club winning a tense semi-final back in 1996, when blog legend Barthez ran out their last batsman with a direct throw from point. Former Lincoln City legend and Notts County manager Steve Thompson played that day.
The football club was formed in 1887. I've blogged Newark Town there as a ground-share and have even managed the world famous Clifton All Whites (U19) there a few years back, when we got a dusting over (hairdryer came out at half-time). It's £3 each on the gate and £1 for a programme, that's dished out by a jolly gateman.
Ms Moon has been tipped the wink about the famous sausage rolls that are supplied by the local butcher. She dashes quicker to the bar than Trumpy Bolton, as the word is supplies are in demand. We go halves. It's the greatest sausage roll on earth. Take a bow J D Nicholson.
I'm not expecting much on the football front. Collingham 19s were tip top a few years ago, but not many have stuck around. Dinnington will be in-your-face if my last viewing is anything to go by - they've brought a fair few supporters too. There's a minute's silence held for the untimely death of Cyrille Regis, who was plucked from Non-League obscurity by West Bromwich Albion.
Collingham have pace but lack guile - they couldn't hit an elephant's arse with a banjo. The game-changer is on 30 minutes. A Collingham player skips down the wing, staying on his feet after one bad challenge. The centre-half is pulled out of position and comes careering towards the boy before lunging in with a sickening challenge that could have been a leg-breaker. The ref picks his back pocket and correctly shows a Red card. He's harangued for a full three minutes, Man Utd style, by the visiting players.
The supporter is so hot and bothered that he has to remove his coat and scarf (it's close to freezing point).
I manage to have a word with 'Dinnington Ultra' Shih Tzu dog, Ted. He's not too chuffed with the decision either. I don't argue the toss with him as he has a decent pair of gnashers on him for a little 'un and might nip my ankles.
The Dinnington goalkeeper starts acting the clown in the second half. The Big Time Charlie is petulant, immature and juvenile in his behaviour. The smile is firmly wiped off his face when he fails to come and collect a corner in the 92nd minute with the ball finally finding the back of the net following a desperate attempt to clear by a Dinnington defender. It's a real shame, as the visitors have given their all with 10 men for over an hour and probably deserved a point for all their efforts.
Man of the Match: Ted the Shih Tzu